GMG moots ‘Smooth’ name change for Jazz

Guardian Media Group Radio is considering rebranding its flagship London station Jazz FM as Smooth FM. The group is reviewing the station’s performance but is wary of alienating its core listeners.

The possibility of changing the name of the station arose this week when Ofcom decided to allow a change in Jazz FM’s music format. The station can now play a wider range of music including soul and R&B during the day, and will increase the amount of jazz that it plays in the evening. Previously, under the terms of its licence the station had to ensure that half of its daytime output was jazz music.

The group’s North-west station was rebranded as Smooth FM in March this year (MW December 11, 2003) and the Ofcom ruling also applies to that station. GMG Radio chief executive John Myers says the London station is being monitored but that a decision has not been made and it is not known when it will be taken.

He says that some changes have already been made to Jazz FM’s music output and that listeners have responded well. He adds that he wants to achieve consistent listening figures and does not want to make any drastic changes in case it affects that.

Jazz FM managing director Carter Tanner has resigned from his role. He joined GMG as sales director for Jazz FM from Clear Channel in March 2002. He will remain at the company for the next five months and is understood to be seeking a new role in UK radio.

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